Search This Blog

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Branching Out (Inspiration of A Tree)

One day, about three weeks ago (maybe a bit longer), I was taking a reflective walk around an old haunt... the grounds of the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse.  I have wandered these grounds for five years now whenever I had to sort through some things... I find the atmosphere to be conducive to organizing the jumbled mass of entropy that overtakes my mind more frequently than I would like to admit.

At any rate, I took a minute to sit on a bench in the cemetery and stare out over the river and surrounding landscape as the sunset bathed it in warm light.  The expanse of forest on either side of the river reminded me of the complex system of millions of neurons that compose our brain.  Just as each individual tree had its own place in the forest, it was surrounded by hundreds of other trees, branches intertwined in a growing embrace as they peacefully coexisted, stretching toward the heavens.  In the same way, each individual neuron relies on the hundreds of others immediately surrounding it to continue the conveyance of a certain thought or movement.

I wandered over to my old oak tree... I have unofficially dubbed this as "my" tree, because it is where most of my mental, emotional, and spiritual sorting has taken place over the past 5 years, seated beneath this tree... It towered as regal as ever, each branch stretching out, fulfilling its mission of simply existing as it continued in its photosynthetic dance.  Scattered on the ground around the base of the tree were dozens of acorn shells.  It dawned upon me that each acorn could be seen as an idea.  It may take tens, if not hundreds, of tries for an idea to stick in exactly the right way.  Yet at some point, the stars align, and that one individual acorn is planted in just the right way to result in another oak tree, just as great as its predecessor.

So I suppose the moral of the story would be to always strive for a vision, work on fulfilling that vision, and never give up on trying until those stars align, and all comes to fruition as it should.

Just my musings for the day...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Carried to the Table

Greetings, all... today's post is going to be quite short.  Just a small piece and a YouTube video.  However, this song - Carried to the Table by Leeland - has been a very prevalent one in my life the past few weeks... To the point of inspiring some ideas for a piece of writing that I may launch into working on here soon... We shall see...

At any rate, enjoy.  See y'all on the flip side.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Beloved Community

Happy Tuesday, all, it's been a week since I've last posted, and quite a bit has happened in that week to get my brain churning.  One thing that I've been thinking about a lot is an awesome concept some have dubbed "the beloved community."

This past Saturday, I was fortunate enough to be a part of an MLKJ weekend celebration.  A group from Starfire met up with a group of students from Northern Kentucky University and a few community partners at Coffee Emporium downtown and read aloud the book Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community, holding small group discussions afterwards.

On the first page of the book is the following quote by Jim Lawson:

"The beloved community is not a utopia, but a place where the barriers between people gradually come down and where the citizens make a constant effort to address even the most difficult problems of ordinary people.  It is above all else an idealistic community."

This quote hit me right upside the head from the moment I heard it, and it definitely impacted the way I interacted with the rest of the book... Waddie's story came alive in a whole new way than it did the first time I read this book (Saturday was my second time of taking part in such an event).  As I reflected on the events of Waddie's life - outliving his parents and siblings and being shuffled around from one nursing home to the next, meeting the first few people who began to form his "beloved community", moving in with Jeff Alden and taking the steps to life as a fellow citizen, and eventually seeing all of his deepest dreams coming true in the last decade of his life - Lawson's quote dwelling in my mind, I realized just how relevant Waddie's story is to both remembering and commemorating the mission of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s ministry, as well as to the work that we must continue to do today to ensure that this very mission does not fall by the wayside.

"Beloved community" refers to those people who will be there through thick and thin, there regardless of what situation presents itself, no matter how difficult it may be to wade through.  In Waddie's case, as an elderly man with cerebral palsy, his "beloved community" was made up of those people who decided to overlook Waddie's label of "disability" and actually care about what his wishes and dreams were.  Above and beyond just caring, though, they actually (as my friend, Tim, likes to encourage everyone to do) bent over backwards and helped Waddie accomplish these things... And if they could not, they found someone else who could and introduced them into the "beloved community".

So why am I writing about this?  For two reasons.  One, we are each called to be the "beloved community" for those in our lives who tend to be overlooked.  Look past whatever labels or differences are present; these are merely superficialities.  Look, instead, at the innate humanity in each person who has been placed in your life.  Each person has so much to offer in terms of gifts, ideas, and just purely potential awesomeness.  The second reason is to remind you that you also are surrounded by your very own "beloved community", composed of those people who have your best interests at hand, who are genuinely concerned with you achieving your hoped for accomplishments and cheering you on, even when you have stopped believing in yourself.

I encourage each of you to take this challenge with me and live your life outwardly focused in a "pay-it-forward" mentality to include each person in this journey we've been called to make the most of... Always remember that everyone has something to offer their fellow humans.  All they need is an invitation to share this innate wealth.  You would want this opportunity; make sure everyone gets to experience it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Return

Hello again, blogosphere... I have decided to return after a long, 6 month sabbatical of sorts... It's time for me to start documenting my thoughts again, my ramblings, my musings, etc...

2012, for me, will be a year of change.  I am part of a book club reading The Artist's Way, authored by Julia Cameron, which is a self-help book of sorts, helping the reader discover/rediscover their innate creativity via a spiritual path.  We are in the process of starting to write a new show at the Studio, and I have been at Starfire for about 7 months.

I need to re-tune myself in to the Spirit, and I'm hoping The Artist's Way will help do just that...  At any rate, driving in to work this morning, I was listening to some gospel music in one attempt to begin tuning in again... the name of the song was "You Are Holy."  One of the lyrics states, "You are holy, oh so holy, You are holy Lord of all..."

As I listened, I began thinking about the actual text, which comes from a passage in the book of Isaiah... I found it interesting how you could take that phrase "You are holy Lord of all," and through the use of punctuation and homophones, you could drastically change the intended connotation of said phrase, with each different connotation being equally relevant to worship.  For one, the statement as it stands is a general declaration.  If you insert a comma - "You are holy, Lord of all" - it becomes a directive statement to God.  If you insert a comma in a different place, it drives more at the very essence of God - "You are, Holy, Lord of all."  Considering that God told Moses in Exodus 3 that God's name is YHWH, which means "I am Who am."  Placing the comma after "are" in addition to the comma after "holy" changes the connotation to speaking directly to God, addressing God as "Holy [and] Lord of all."  Again, this is a directive statement, but it changes God from a noun to a verb, reaching out to the very essence and nature of God that God has described God's self.

And considering we are all created in the image of God, what if we each begin to look at our own existences in the verb form instead of the noun form... It certainly is an interesting notion...

Just my thoughts for the day...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Many Times Must I Hear It?

The other night, I was aware, for the first time in a little while, of God speaking to me. It was through a TV show... you'll see the irony of this in a second. I was lounging on my sofa Sunday evening, being completely lazy, when I stumbled across the show playing on Bio - "I Survived... Beyond and Back." It was a show that documented three near-death experiences (NDEs). Being a sucker for NDEs, I switched it on and settled back. Each of the three individuals related the accounts of their respective deaths and post-death experiences. After, each person revealed how they were convinced that they were brought back into their painful situations of recovery here on Earth because there was something more here for them to accomplish. It was at that moment that I felt the revelation = Do you not get this picture? Was your conversation with Patricia not enough? You need to get off your butt and fulfill these plans I have for you. Enough with being lazy. Start moving, for you, too, have more to accomplish.

Without trying to sound haughty, I have felt for quite some time that God has intended for me to accomplish big things. And how am I supposed to do this when I go home every evening and lounge around for hours? I must admit, I do not have the faintest idea as to exactly what God has planned, but I feel strongly that now is the time for me to act in faith and follow the daily callings I fell through prayer and meditation, my attempt to connect with the Spirit. It is time for me to sort through this jumble of ideas I've had for weeks now. To achieve this, I pray for the faith and happiness I so often see in the members of Starfire, whom I get to work with every day. Nine times out of ten, these individuals will have a smile on their faces, simply because they woke up and have the chance to experience and fully live another day.

Why can't we all live this way? Why can't we all express gratitude for the complex simplicity of life through our daily actions, acting as the earthly representations of God's love, mercy, and wisdom? Now is the time, dear friends. I urge you to pray, asking for the wisdom to realize your dreams, the joy to embrace them, the courage to act upon them, and the perseverance to see them to fruition. We all have dreams, along with the gifts to act upon them. Listen to those quiet, nagging thoughts that hang at the back of your mind from day to day, for they could be whispers from God. Pray on them always, so that you may know the correct actions to make. Take this chance, and make this your day to fly.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wait... You mean the world didn't end?

Greetings blog lovers, today is Monday, May 23, 2011. Yes, that's right, two days after the ill-fated Day of Judgment that was supposed to have occurred this past Saturday. And we're still here? Surprise, surprise. Anyone who was familiar with the Bible at all would have known that Saturday was not the day of the Rapture/Judgment Day because NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY NOR THE HOUR. How many times does this have to be pounded into the heads of people like Harold Camping and his followers? The hour of 6 pm passed quietly in the Eastern time zone of the United States, sneaking past with a partially overcast sky and no hint of an earthquake that left the globe in ruins. Will the atrocities that Harold Camping declared actually happen one day? Again, anyone familiar with the Bible knows that yes, there will be a Rapture and a Day of Judgment and plagues and earthquakes and 300 pound hailstones... it's true, Google it. However, when these things will happen, in what order, and how many people will be affected, nobody but God knows. All we can do (those of us who abide by the Christian faith, anyways) is to be ready and watch, living our lives as though each day could be the last.

In other news, my girlfriend has officially moved back to Perrysburg to live with her parents and finish up her college career at Bowling Green State University, thereby changing the way my life will run from now on. I will have much more time with my Cincinnati friends, but things will become quite lonely very quickly during the later hours of the evening. I find it interesting that not every single piece of my life can be optimistically in sync at any given point... now that I have an awesome job here in Cincy that I love, the one thing I love most about my personal life is physically absent... so we'll see what happens. At any rate, it's time for me to bounce. Until next time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tomorrow Begins the New Chapter

Today is a bittersweet day, a day that is kicking off a very bittersweet week. Today is my last day working at SC Ministry Foundation, a co op position that I have held for a solid year now, and during my time here, I have grown mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have a much greater sense of awareness for issues of social justice and what can be done to add to the solutions. The people I met via our Board and Committee meetings here are all 100% genuine, God-fearing, phenomenal people, and I would never have made many of these connections at all had it not been for my time at the Foundation. For the people I was able to meet, and for the opportunities I have been provided, I am eternally grateful.

Today is also my last day as an employee of 5/3 Bank. My few months working at the bank has definitely offered me some new insight into an area of the workforce that I had not previously delved into, as well as some insight into how to better handle my own personal finances. It has also been a learning experience, helping me realize that retail banking is not the career for me.

Tomorrow is my first day as an employee of Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. This opportunity that has been offered me is a blessing straight from God, as it always uplifts my mood and my faith to see those who have disabilities flourishing in the talents God has bestowed upon them and spreading those talents for the glory of God. This transition is a much needed improvement for both my personal and my spiritual lives. It will help me to keep strong and focused as I help my girlfriend move back to Perrysburg this weekend, only to return on Sunday without her. Thus begins the saga of this long-distance phase of our relationship, a phase that I did not foresee or even think would happen until last week.

So much change in so little time; staying focused on God and God's will for my life will help keep me sane.